FSO Nabarima listing with 173,000 tons of oil on board threatens Venezuela, Trinidad
Floating Storage and Offloading Unit FSO NABARIMA was reported by Eudis Girot, one of trade unions leaders of Venezuelan Oil Industry, to be in emergency situation, due to lack of proper and professional maintenance.
Petroleumworld 09 02 2020
Another potential environmental calamity in brewing off Venezuela's coast where a floating storage tanker holding up to 1.2mn bl of crude is at risk of sinking.
The Venezuela-flagged Nabarima moored at the Corocoro field in the Paria Gulf is listing to starboard, flooding the engine room and nearby compartments, according to three Venezuelan employees of the PetroSucre joint venture that runs the field.
Venezuelan state-owned PdV (PDVSA) operates PetroSucre. Its minority partner is Italy's Eni with a 26pc stake.
Seawater levels in the engine room and other compartments were up to 5ft (1.52m) deep, and measurements taken early today show that the levels continue to rise despite PdV's efforts to pump it out so the leaks can be patched, one of the PetroSucre workers told Argus .
"The engine room is so flooded that there is no possibility the Nabarima can navigate under its own power to a terminal to discharge the oil," the worker added.
The Nabarima , a small VLCC built in 2005, has been moored at the Corocoro field since at least 2015, according to the Venezuelan oil ministry.
PdV has not maintained the tanker properly for over five years, the PetroSucre workers said. Unskilled personnel hired by PdV to plug manpower gaps as skilled workers leave the company damaged the vessel's equipment, including water pumps and offloading systems, the workers added.
PetroSucre was producing and exporting about 11,000 b/d of crude to PDVSA's US refining subsidiary Citgo until the US imposed oil sanctions on Venezuela in January 2019, a PdV international marketing official said.
An official at Eni's Caracas office declined to comment. Eni headquarters could not be immediately reached.
The Venezuelan Ecology Society which is monitoring the situation warns that if the Nabarima sinks it could trigger the worst marine environmental disaster in the country's history and potentially affect fisheries and coastlines in Trinidad and Tobago.
A senior business executive in Port of Spain confirmed that the sinking tanker is raising local concerns.
Damaged heat exchangers at PDVSA's 140,000 b/d El Palito refinery spilled up to 25,000 bl of oil into the Triste Gulf in July and August, polluting fisheries and mangroves on the coast of Carabobo and Falcon states.